Race Coaching lesson plans

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Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:57 pm

Hi all,

Former PSIA instructor, (20 years ago) following PMTS for the last 10+ years, and will start volunteer coaching with the local race program this season, starting in a couple of weeks or so. I have all 3 of Harald's books and the DVDs that come with them, been reading this forum for several years.

I'd like to start putting together and structuring some training plans. I'm not sure which age group(s) I'll be working with on the team, I'm assuming U10 - U16 mostly.

Taking from my ski instructor days, I plan to continue introducing selected skills and movements progressively during on-snow sessions, starting with a brief WHY explanation of what we're doing --- stationary --- traversing --- garlands/partial turns --- linking turns on easy terrain --- start bringing into skiing and race course. (as a general model)

Any suggestions or input on 1. Compiling a list of examples of daily focused goals/skills, 2. Which drills to include, and 3. Anything else you have found helpful and beneficial in youth race coaching? Any resources (books, videos, manuals) I should be getting?

I've seen references, and I think a couple of pics, of "Walking the S Line." (Skis off, skiers positioning themselves in reference points along a track of one or two turns,) That seems like something good to do at the beginning of each daily session, no? I believe this is something they do at all the PMTS camps?

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby h.harb » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:38 pm

We have already done this for the race program at Welch Village there is even an Accreditation for coaches we've developed. If you are interested call Peter and ask him about the training program. We have it written for their program but it can be adapted to any program.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:18 pm

Thank you, Harald.

Is Peter the head of the Welch Village program? Is that who I should contact? I see him listed on the Welch Village website.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby noobSkier » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:59 pm

precisionchiro,

Personally, every drill I do starts with a tipping drill and flows into the one Im actually doing. I've found enormous benefit in this approach because I get a huge volume of pure tipping work and I'm primed for the second drill. Even when I'm not actively drilling, every single run has some form of tipping work. Tipping drills account for roughly 85% of my training volume. In my opinion ankle tipping is the most important and the easiest-to-F-up movement in PMTS.

Bending/Extending: How else do you get higher angles?
CB: How else do you not fall on your face in a turn?
CA: How else can you hold an edge?
Flexing: How else can you transition without an extension?
Tipping: Tiny almost imperceptible ankle movement thats the foundation of your skiing, which the brain refuses to execute when things get tough?

For me at least, tipping needs constant attention.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:39 pm

precisionchiro wrote:I'd like to start putting together and structuring some training plans. I'm not sure which age group(s) I'll be working with on the team, I'm assuming U10 - U16 mostly.


I don't think I could put together a plan without knowing age and skill level. Kids get bored easily so starting with Page 1 of Book 1 would be a challenge (even though its probably the best place to start in the majority of cases), especially if they are already running gates.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:38 am

Max_501 wrote:I don't think I could put together a plan without knowing age and skill level. Kids get bored easily so starting with Page 1 of Book 1 would be a challenge (even though its probably the best place to start in the majority of cases), especially if they are already running gates.


Oh, I agree, Max_501. Specific plans, day by day, week by week, would be difficult to create without knowing ages and skill levels, and actually seeing all of them on the snow.

I've never been to a PMTS camp or event, (hope to make it one day) and I imagine all of Harald's events are structured nicely to model and transfer into a youth race program.

I was just hoping there would be some general suggestions, even other personal experiences from folks here about bringing their PMTS knowledge into training kids for racing. Here in NJ and southern NY state, most of what I've been seeing the past few years is heavily PSIA-styled coaching, and skiing from the coaches. Most gate training I see is not much more than setting up a generic course, letting kids ski it, then giving them comments at the bottom.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:47 am

Drills are needed to build fundamentals. I like to start from the bottom up. Are they tipping properly? Probably not, so I'd start there and work towards building a Super Phantom. On top of that I'd be working to identify the SMIM for each athlete and work that into the larger group plan.

When gates are set its tough to get kids to do drills and even harder explaining to the parents why they aren't running gates (especially if you don't have coaching accreditation).

precisionchiro wrote:I've never been to a PMTS camp or event, (hope to make it one day) and I imagine all of Harald's events are structured nicely to model and transfer into a youth race program.


I can't imagine trying to do this without at least one camp under my belt. FWIW, I became a blue level coach so I'd have the background to coach my kids.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby SkiMoose » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:46 pm

I have some perspective coming from the opposite side of things. This year is my first year in ski racing, and one of the main problems with USSA coaching (at least from what I have seen) is having kids ski terrain that is too steep, and run courses that are set too hard without proper fundamentals. Without developing strong tipping, flexing and upperbody movements on the flat, moving onto steeper terrain is useless, and only causes kids to develop worse habits. As a PMTS skier this is incredibly frustrating. In my opinion, setting simple courses with brushes or stubbies on easy terrain, then progressively increasing the difficulty of the courses as the kid's skiing develops is the best option. Good luck, the racers you teach are very lucky!
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:50 pm

Summary of the 2006 PMTS Race Camp at Hood.

Max_501 wrote:We had about 15 people in the camp. The first day we spent some time skiing together and then Harald and Diana had a pow wow to decide how to split up the group. The lucky folks got to work with Diana. The rest of us got stuck with Harald. Each morning we met at 7:30am in front of the lifts to get our tickets. Then we free skied for 30-60mins while HH and Diana got the course ready. This was great because the snow was perfectly groomed first thing every morning. If you were really lucky Diana chose you to ski a bag or two of salt over to Harald to put on the course. Then we hooked up with our coaches and got serious about improving our skiing. At various times throughout the day someone would be shooting video which we watched shortly after the lifts closed at 1:30pm.

In Harald's group we focused on creating a short radius turn without the use of any steering or rotation. It was ok for the turn to be a brushed carve but not ok for the tails to displace more than the tips.

Typically we were running laps off of the Palmer lift. Our brushy course was setup towards the bottom of that so we?d ride up, work on stuff all the way down to the course and then run the course.

Things we worked on:

Counter (Counter Acting and Counter Balance)

We learned to use progressive counter in our turns and that counter is dynamic and changes as the forces of the turn change (counter is not a position). We learned that you need counter as soon as you come out of the float and begin to tip into the new turn. We did a few different drills that helped create counter. One drill was to touch your outside boot with your outside hand while keeping your inside hand up and forward. I'm sure there was another that I'm spacing...The funniest one was using the hipometer. You take your poles and place them lengthwise so that one is across the front of your pelvis and the other across the back of your pelvis. Then you hook them together with your pole straps. What you end up with is your poles in a rectangle sitting on your hips with the tips and handles pointing out to your left and right sides. Now its easier to see when you counter rotate and counter balance. First drill was to ski in a counter rotated position. The next step was to add in counter balance by pushing down on the outside poles. The advanced version had us all skiing with counter by pushing down and back on the outside of our hipometer with our outside hand while keeping our inside hand in a strong position by lightly resting on inside of our hipometer. There was also one or two of the hoola hoop devices running around. I didn?t try one but I watched Jay doing it and its seems like a great learning tool (plus everyone looks at you like you are nuts and that?s always fun).

Flex, Flex, and More Flex to Release a Turn

We focused on eliminating any sign of an up move during the release. We did this by concentrating on pulling our legs up to our chest (flexing). A drill we used was to make a turn and then flex down to make the new turn (this is done with a big bending of the knees rather than a bending over at the waist). No up movement at all. The ridge is also a great tool for learning how to manage flex. If you can turn back and forth across the ridge without getting any air then you know you are flexing.

Patience During Release and High C Engagement of the Edges

We focused on eliminating the habit of rushing to the new outside edge. This is done by staying flexed longer and actually tipping while still flexed so that you enter the new turn with flexed legs. The drill was to stay in a flexed position while going from turn to turn.

Gradual Extension of the Outside Leg

This is the second part of being patient. Rather than an instant extension of the outside leg we learned to extend it gradually through the top of the turn so that it was extended by 3 o'clock (with 12 o'clock uphill and 6 o'clock downhill). We worked on this by adding gradual outside leg extension to the previous flex drill.

Inside Leg Retraction and Outside Leg Extension for Bigger Angles

To get the bigger angles the inside foot has to be moved up so the outside foot has room to tip into the turn (if you keep your feet too close one boot will bump into the other as you tip). We focused on creating vertical separation. The drill was to start with the feet in a wider stance. We then pointed our skis down and across the hill while extending the outside leg and retracting the inside leg with lots of tipping. The idea is to tip enough so that you end up with the outside and inside legs very close to each other but with plenty of vertical distance between the boots. This bends the outside ski which brings you right back up the hill. As we finished the arc of the turn we relaxed the outside leg and found that it comes right back to the inside leg. The next part of the drill was to link turns by using the flex to release movement.

Pressure Management

The general idea is that you learn to manage the pressure you get from the snow. Where do you feel the pressure? The ball of your foot? The heel? Is it moving throughout the turn? This is a more advanced topic and I'm not sure I can describe it. I'm sure Jay or HH can give us a good run down though.

Short Turns

We applied everything we were working on to shorter and shorter turns. We worked on tightening the radius of the turn without using any steering or rotating into the turn. We worked on very fast edge changes. HH and Diana set up a course of brushies (soft plastic bristles set into a piece of plastic that is placed into the snow so that they bristles point up and out of the snow). The goal was to run the course and make turns around the brushies by using our edges (no steering). I found this to be very challenging. Running a straight line of brushies (called a flush) was so much fun. The first time I just figured there wasn't a chance in heck that I could do it because I've never made such fast edge changes. But our coaches had us all doing it by the end of the camp.

The Line

We spent some time talking about finding and skiing the best line through a slalom course. The idea was to get yourself positioned so that you carved from turn to turn without needing to use any steering. HH and Diana were very good at this.

The End Result

My short turn improved alot. Something I can use all over the mountain! As an example, Jay and I took what we were working on into the bumps. Its amazing how easy it was to ski the bumps after focusing on short turns with a big flex to release. It was just a natural use of what we were already doing.

Coaching by Harald and Diana

Their ability to teach in a straight foward easy to understand manner is truly exceptional. Their ability to analyze movements both on the slopes and later during video analysis sessions is stunning. With each run you get immediate feedback about what you are doing (good and bad). And if you are in need of alignment they are watching that all the time and working with you to correct it.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:47 am

SkiMoose wrote:I have some perspective coming from the opposite side of things. This year is my first year in ski racing, and one of the main problems with USSA coaching (at least from what I have seen) is having kids ski terrain that is too steep, and run courses that are set too hard without proper fundamentals. Without developing strong tipping, flexing and upperbody movements on the flat, moving onto steeper terrain is useless, and only causes kids to develop worse habits. As a PMTS skier this is incredibly frustrating. In my opinion, setting simple courses with brushes or stubbies on easy terrain, then progressively increasing the difficulty of the courses as the kid's skiing develops is the best option. Good luck, the racers you teach are very lucky!


Thank you, SkiMoose.

I completely agree, I see a lot of race clinics spend too much time in the course and on challenging terrain, trying to practice drills and learn movements. As much as I hate to say it, even PSIA has emphasized, for a while now, (they did back in the 90's) keeping students of all levels on easy terrain as much as possible to learn new skills and movements.

I finally got to sit down yesterday with the Race Director, one on one. I'm relieved that he and I agree on most things about training youth athletes, particularly in a sport like skiing. He prefers all his racers to spend only 15-20% training time in gates, (preferably toward the end of sessions, if at all, on any particular day) and 80% working on fundamentals and technique, mostly on easy terrain. He flat out said that you can't expect to make kids ski gates if they don't even make a decent turn.

So after talking shop for a little bit and going over my background and experience, he decided he wants to put me with the older more advanced racers in the full Race Program (somewhere above U14), so one of his coaches at the upper levels is getting bumped to U10 Development Team, which is where I thought I'd be starting as a first year coach. (Whoops)

You know.... I get this funny feeling that I'm going to get at least 1 or 2 PITA parents, know-it-alls who will be out on the hill (stalking), monopolizing my time at the end of sessions, sending me numerous emails about the progress of their little angel Future World Cup Champion. I already saw a few of them at the first parent's meeting a couple of months ago. :roll:
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:29 am

precisionchiro wrote:You know.... I get this funny feeling that I'm going to get at least 1 or 2 PITA parents, know-it-alls who will be out on the hill (stalking), monopolizing my time at the end of sessions, sending me numerous emails about the progress of their little angel Future World Cup Champion. I already saw a few of them at the first parent's meeting a couple of months ago. :roll:


What level PSIA instructor are you? Do you look like an ex-racer when you ski?

Race parents often want to know the following: What's your direct racing experience? What certifications do you have for instruction? What camps have you attended?

Those are all reasonable questions for a race parent to ask because racing is expensive in terms of time and dollars. If I was in your shoes I'd be working on a mission statement of sorts, something that explains to the kids and parents why you are the right person to help them become better racers. If you don't have previous race coaching experience expect resistance from the parents and kids. Put yourself in their shoes, would you spend your time and money on a "coach" that wasn't certified in the system they are teaching?
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:32 pm

Max_501 wrote:
What level PSIA instructor are you? Do you look like an ex-racer when you ski?

Race parents often want to know the following: What's your direct racing experience? What certifications do you have for instruction? What camps have you attended?

Those are all reasonable questions for a race parent to ask because racing is expensive in terms of time and dollars. If I was in your shoes I'd be working on a mission statement of sorts, something that explains to the kids and parents why you are the right person to help them become better racers. If you don't have previous race coaching experience expect resistance from the parents and kids. Put yourself in their shoes, would you spend your time and money on a "coach" that wasn't certified in the system they are teaching?


Yup. Definitely agree with all of this, and have been preparing myself for introductions, first impressions, and "mission statements."

I'm a former Level 3 PSIA, Current Level 100 USSA, (will be taking Level 200 for next season) Former Ski School Director, ski instructor trainer, etc. Just recently passed the Referee Certification test.

Yes, I look much more like a racer than a ski instructor when I ski, certainly compared to most of the other coaches in this program. It's a small family-owned area in southern NY state, and I believe about 1/3 of the coaches have any USSA or even PSIA certification. Some are "good skiing" parents with kids in the program, some are college age or young adults who are former racers in the program and are there to earn some extra money.

I'm also a Doctor of Chiropractic, so I have more knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics, and neuromusculophysiology than most coaches and instructors. I'm in my late 40's.

I realize that here in the PMTS realm, those credentials aren't all that impressive... and they wouldn't be considered very impressive at a larger Race program in any of the bigger ski states. So I don't mention any of this to brag, I know that many skiers here in this forum are better racers than I am. But my coaching/teaching experience, and my skiing ability (based on what I've seen at the area, and certainly in the USSA courses I've taken -- the A framing and inclination, holy s@#!) puts me in the upper part of the staff in this particular program. So, putting myself in the shoes of the Race Director, I would also want to use the most experienced and credentialed coaches for my better, older racers as well, since some of them probably ski better than their coaches, and their parents are spending the most money. He kept bringing up my Level 100 in deciding where to put me, probably because he only has a handful on staff, and I imagine parents are asking him all those questions too.

Yesterday he introduced me to a few people at the area by saying "New coach... he used to run the ski school at XYZ mountain." The way I feel about ski instructors and PSIA, I don't even think that's worth mentioning... but I imagine it gives an impression of leadership to a layperson.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:47 pm

And for the record, when I was referring to PITA parents, I wasn't referring to parents who are rightfully curious and concerned about the competency of their kid's coach.

I was referring to the know-it-all parent. The one who doesn't know what they don't know... who teaches their child different and often contradictory/undermining things than the coach does, and expects you to reinforce it and use it in your lessons. Who teaches their child to steer that outside big toe and swing the pole to the ski tip to extend up and get their body forward, and keep their hands way up and way out front for proper balance... because that's what they did it in college, and the Canadian ski instructor on YouTube does it the same way too.

I see it (them, those parents) in every team of every sport my son plays.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:42 pm

I'd guess the PSIA L3 will give you some cred. The USSA 100 might help, just depends on the parents experience and knowledge with racing.

precisionchiro wrote:I was referring to the know-it-all parent. The one who doesn't know what they don't know... who teaches their child different and often contradictory/undermining things than the coach does, and expects you to reinforce it and use it in your lessons. Who teaches their child to steer that outside big toe and swing the pole to the ski tip to extend up and get their body forward, and keep their hands way up and way out front for proper balance... because that's what they did it in college, and the Canadian ski instructor on YouTube does it the same way too.


That describes me well, although I was telling my kids to ignore the coaches that told them extend to release, lead with the knees, and other non-PMTS stuff they were being taught as racers. I wasn't popular with the coaches but my kids were improving at a remarkable rate so there were racers and parents asking us about our methods. One thing that worked remarkably well was watching my kids running gates and then sending them a SMIM text to view on the next chair up. It got to a point where'd they'd text me if I didn't send them a SMIM message before they got on the chair.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:03 pm

Max_501 wrote:That describes me well, although I was telling my kids to ignore the coaches that told them extend to release, lead with the knees, and other non-PMTS stuff they were being taught as racers. I wasn't popular with the coaches but my kids were improving at a remarkable rate so there were racers and parents asking us about our methods. One thing that worked remarkably well was watching my kids running gates and then sending them a SMIM text to view on the next chair up. It got to a point where'd they'd text me if I didn't send them a SMIM message before they got on the chair.


Hell, Max. You'd be my dream parent. LOL
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